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California School Board Votes on Whether or Not to Declare High-speed Internet a 'Human Right'

Online classes | Image credit: Reuters (Representational)

Online classes | Image credit: Reuters (Representational)

As schools and colleges moved to online classes due to Covid-19, having access to high-speed internet became a necessity to continue education. But is it a human right?

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic and lockdown that followed brought a tectonic shift in the education system around the globe. As school and colleges moved to online classes, having access to high-speed internet became a necessity to continue education. This sudden change also exposed us to a stark class divide. Students from low-income groups faced a new kind of problem in getting an education - lack of good internet. Addressing this problem, a school board in California is expected to vote in a resolution declaring high-speed internet a ‘human right’.

According to a report by Fox News, the board of trustees for the Oak Grove School in the Bay Area suggested that high-speed internet was a basic human right and the fact has been further emphasized by the COVID-19 pandemic that interrupted the education of all communities, especially students of low-income group.

The board will vote on a resolution endorsing a set of California bills that would reduce restrictions that prevent the construction of public broadband networks. In addition, these bills also put a $10 billion broadband infrastructure bond on the ballot next year.

The board members will also discuss the importance of digital equity efforts and the impact of ‘digital divide’ on students and their families.

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The school located in San Jose has been holding online classes since the start of the pandemic last year. However, it came under a lot of flak after its controversial ‘hybrid plan’ where students will have to spend half of the week on campus and the other half on distance learning. This plan had the exception of students of 7th grade who were supposed to continue with distance learning for the rest of the year.

The board members will also be reconsidering allowing 7th graders to return to in-person hybrid instruction for the remaining academic year.

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first published:April 16, 2021, 18:50 IST